Many of us are familiar with the power behind SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely – goal-setting. Researchers find a strong correlation between companies’ financial performances and the presence of an effective goal-setting process.
However, specifying SMART goals on the organizational scale can be a challenge, and aligning goals at every level of an organization, from the highest level down to each individual employee, can be even more difficult. In fact, one study released by Achievers reports that more than 60 percent of employees surveyed said they didn’t know their company’s mission, vision, or values. This statistic illustrates the staggering disconnect in workplaces today: employers are falling short when it comes to strategic goal setting and aligning employees’ day-to-day key performance indicators (KPIs) with broader organizational goals.60% of employees don't know their company’s mission, vision, or values. Click To Tweet
In order to succeed in today’s quickly changing economy, employees at all levels need to be informed of and aligned on their company’s overarching objectives. Furthermore, those goals need to be translated such that people understand and relate to them as they carry out their day-to-day responsibilities, thus becoming more engaged and better able to adapt to changes with short notice.
There are several key steps that you can take to establish a successful goal-setting and goal-alignment strategy in your organization.
1. Start at the Top
Organizational goal-setting must start with the executive team. What are the key performance metrics that matter to the business at the highest level? How does each aspect of the business tie into these metrics? Consulting with and seeking buy-in from the C-suite and senior management will ensure that the organization’s goals receive the attention and prioritization they deserve. Understanding the business issues and challenges driving each aspect of the business will allow leadership to develop a portfolio of tiered goals that are aligned with bottom line business objectives.
Buy-in from the C-Suite and senior management will ensure that the organization’s goals receive the attention and prioritization they deserve.
2. Create a Cascade of Goals
That first round of high-level strategic goals may not directly relate to an analyst in his/her first year at the organization at first glance. With this in mind, after setting goals at the top of the organization, engage department heads and middle managers to translate these overarching objectives into meaningful goals at each level of the enterprise.
After setting goals at the top of the organization, engage department heads and middle managers to translate these overarching objectives into meaningful goals at each level of the enterprise.
This process won’t happen on its own, so consider facilitating the process by laying out a structured rollout, in which all stakeholders know when, where, and how they must be involved. Engage each department and team lead so that corporate goals are translated into department goals then translated into team goals which are translated into individual goals.
3. Drive Consistency and Accountability
Without consistency and accountability, any organizational system will break down. HR can play a powerful role in the goal-setting process by establishing standards that ensure department heads across the company translate goals in the same way. This will provide consistency in terms of each employee ending up with a similar number of goals that are appropriate based on his/her level of responsibility.
Lean on HR to establish standards that ensure each department translates goals the same way.
Continuing to engage with managers over the course of the process to ensure they are helping employees create SMART goals and holding them to deadlines will also drive a culture of accountability around goal-setting. It will guarantee that each objective is meaningful, not just words.
4. Encourage Continuous Communication
Often, organizations go through a big, ambitious goal-setting process but then don’t discuss those goals again for a quarter or even a year. Consider leveraging one of the growing numbers of technology solutions available to prevent this from happening in your organization. There are many solutions that automatically send reminders to managers and employees when it is time to update progress toward goals. By systematically checking in on employees, teams, and departments and measuring their progress towards their goals and objectives, you will foster a responsive, engaged work environment and instill a culture of goal-setting and achievement.Encourage continuous communication on goals with reminders to employees to update progress. Click To Tweet
By spearheading the development of a sound, integrated goal-setting process, you will empower employees to align their day-to-day tasks and objectives with organizational goals. As a result, you will provide your organization with the agility needed to succeed in today’s fast-paced environment, drive significant productivity improvements, and ultimately, contribute to the company’s bottom-line.